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Talks on China visitors hit snag over Taiwan moniker

Talks on China visitors hit snag over Taiwan moniker

A deal to open Taiwan to more Chinese visitors has become stuck on the issue of what to call Taiwan, as China-based businessmen from the island clamored for an agreement that would sharply boost cross-strait flights.
All the logistics have been worked out, but Beijing has insisted that Taiwan be known as "China, Taiwan," despite Taiwan's objections, Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, told Reuters yesterday in an interview.
"It's in the foreseeable future," Chen said on the sidelines of a two-day conference, referring to when an agreement might be struck.
Earlier in the day, he told about 150 China-based Taiwanese businessman that talks had largely stalled in April and May, but that Beijing had given some ground recently. According to Chen, the opening to Chinese tourists and the establishment of direct cross-strait passenger and cargo charter flights are high on the agenda of the government's negotiations with China.
Chen said that the bilateral talks on opening to Chinese tourists and the inception of direct cross-Taiwan Strait charter flight service have made progress, meaning that the entry of Chinese tourists is foreseeable.
"Now that the two sides have achieved major breakthroughs in bilateral technical talks concerning the three issues, the Chinese side should accelerate its pace in resolving the remaining details and wrap up the ongoing talks in the shortest possible period, " Chen said, adding that "our side has been doing its best to complete the negotiations as quickly as possible under the directive issued by Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄)."
Plans being discussed would increase the number of direct flights between China and Taiwan to every weekend, compared with on just four major holidays each year.
An estimated 1 million Taiwanese now live and work in China, and Taiwan investors have pumped an estimated US$100 billion into mainland ventures. China is also Taiwan's top trading partner.
Many of the businessmen gathered in Hualien called the opening of more regular cross-strait flights their top priority, and expressed frustration at how long talks have dragged on.
"Our home is in Taiwan, but our workplaces are in China," said conference participant Wang Jen-sheng, president of the Taiwan business association for central China city of Zhengzhou.
Taiwan and China have been negotiating a tourism agreement for more than a year, which would significantly open up the island to Chinese tourists.
Analysts estimate opening Taiwan to mainland tourists could provide a boost for the island's relatively small international travel industry, adding as much as 0.2 percentage points to economic growth.


Updated : 2021-05-14 10:33 GMT+08:00